Lina Baker/360 Promotions Tom Loeffler, Callum Walsh, Dana White and Freddie Roach.
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Callum Walsh hoping to take 'half of Cobh' to New York as he earns Madison Square Garden bow

The 22-year-old Cork man will box in a main event in The Theater at MSG on Thursday 9 November.

CALLUM WALSH WILL take the next step in his burgeoning boxing career when he headlines The Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York, on Thursday 9 November.

The 42 can confirm that the Cork light-middleweight, whose professional record stands at 8-0 (7KOs), will face the 13-1(9KOs) Bronx native Ismael Villarreal in a 10-round contest which will be broadcast live on UFC Fight Pass.

It will make for a first New York outing for Cobh youngster Walsh, who trains under Freddie Roach at the Hall of Famer’s Wild Card gym in Hollywood, California.

The Tom Loeffler-promoted southpaw will face Villarreal in the 5,000-capacity Theater arena at MSG. Significantly, Walsh will also share a Big Apple fight week with the UFC, whose heavyweights Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic will meet in the 20,000-capacity main arena two nights later.

That should help to further boost Walsh’s growing profile as UFC president Dana White has been highly influential in platforming the Irish boxer at every turn.

“I’m a 22-year-old from Cork fighting in a main event at Madison Square Garden. I think some people might not realise the scale of what I’m doing at such a young age,” Walsh said. “Hopefully, there’ll be a good Irish turnout there.

“I’m from Cork, y’know? I’m not one of these guys out here trying to pretend to be Irish, or whatever. There’s such a big Irish community out in New York and hopefully they’ll all show up on 9 November.

“I’m going to be sharing a fight week with the UFC, with Jon Jones, so it’s going to be crazy.

“The UFC have helped my career a lot. They always post me on their Instagram. Dana pushes me a lot. They’ve helped me so much, so I can only imagine what they’re going to do out in New York when I’m sharing an actual fight week with them.”

Walsh’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, said that “Madison Square Garden is really looking forward to having Callum fight there.”

“They’re looking at this as the first of many fights and they want to turn him into a house fighter there,” Loeffler continued.

“With the Irish fans in New York and with the promotion MSG have planned for this, coupled with UFC Fight week and the way Dana gets behind Callum, it’s going to be a huge week.

“The senior vice president of sports at Madison Square Garden (Sal Federico), he came up to Boston to watch Callum fight in anticipation of him coming to New York in November.

They’re really looking at recreating what they did with John Duddy, selling out The Theater every St Patrick’s Day, and naturally we’re looking at taking Callum to a much higher level in terms of world titles.

“Katie Taylor sold out the big arena. We’ve done that with ‘Triple G’ (Gennady Golovkin) and the Klitschko brothers and we’ll look to do it with Callum in the future.”

“I’m looking forward to a good fight,” Walsh added. “I’m hoping the power punches don’t get to him too early and that we can put on a show at Madison Square Garden.

“I’d say half of Cobh is going to be out there… and I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing!” he laughed.

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